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Archive for the ‘Blake Nelson’ Category

rockstar.jpgSOUNDTRACK: RADIOHEAD-In Rainbows (2008).

inrainbow.jpgOK Computer has been my favorite album for many years. And since then, I’ve been consitently blown away by Radiohead. Even their willfully obscure phase is pretty awesome in my book.

I’m not going to say much about Radiohead’s decision to sell this record online. I congratulate them for going on their own and selling so many copies. Good for them.

I bought the CD.  I would have bought the crazy expensive package, except that it was crazy expensive, so…no.

Anyhow, this album is really great. Really, really great. Radiohead have mellowed since the gorgeous cacophony of “Paranoid Android” but their songwriting has never sounded better. The songs all just sound so good. Which is sort of like saying I like eggs because of the way they taste, but the point is tsill there.

If you were to compress all of the things that Radiohead has done since OK Computer into one album this is what you would get. Not to say that it’s derivative, because it isn’t. I’m listening to it right now, and the amazing hook of “Jigsaw Falling Into Place” blows me away every time. The first time I heard “Werid Fishes/Arpeggi” I was instantly sucked into the groove. Even the opening song, which starts out with a weird staccato drum beat leading you to think here’s another techno-Radiohead disc is taken in a whole new fantastic direction by the great, weird and wonderful guitar lines that soon follow.

It’s just an amazing creation. It’s almost alike a greatest hits record of all new material. Great basslines, great harmonic vocals, astonishing guitar work, and best of all, crazy beats that keep you off balance and in the groove at the same time.

I’m curious to hear what some of these originally sounded like (there was a lot of talk of fans hearing these songs in different versions on tour, so if they ever release some live shows, that would be pretty neat. In the meantime, I’ll take this compact token of Radiohead’s output.

[READ: March, 2008] Rock Star Superstar.

So, this is my first serious foray into YA books. I got this book purely for the title. I was showing a patron the YA section, and this title jumped out at me. I’m thrilled that I took it out. In continuing with my YA theory (see What I Learned… (18)) this book is very short. It also cuts right to the chase. Our hero is Pete, a very talented bass player. He has been playing for years and is very skilled, and in the way of most high school musicians that I knew, he’s very uptight about the difference between “real” musicians and “amateurs.” I can recall having endless discussions with my fellow classmates about the merits of various musicians, (shout out to Al Crisafulli, Mike Hoblin, Tom Fitzpatrick and Steve Angelone…let’s see if you find this by Googling yourselves! “Is Geoff Tate a better singer than Bruce Dickinson?” “Is Yngwie Malmsteen a great guitarist or an overrated poseur?” (more…)

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I love coincidences. They freak me out a little bit and make me go woah! Now, I’m not the kind of guy to read into coincidences, I don’t think they are portents, or omens or harbingers of things good or evil. I just think they are cool. Now, I’m not talking about seeing some actress whom you haven’t thought of for ages suddenly appearing on two different magazine covers, because that’s just saturation marketing (and when you see the article, you realize that they have a new movie out). Nor am I thinking–I just bought the new Band of Horses CD months after it came out and I’ve been listening to it a lot and then I hear a song from it on an episode of Chuck–because they’re both new and it’s just a semi-popular song on a semi-popular show. Mild coincidence at best. I’m talking about the fact that in the circle of friends that my wife and I have developed since the birth of our son, two of their kids are named Ryan (admittedly a fairly popular name) and three of the five husbands are named Rob. And even weirder, they each go by a different variant: Rob, Robb and Robert.

Several months ago I had a string of coincidences that were so freaky I had to write them down. Which I did. And then they stopped. Well, now I’ve had two cool ones in two days, so I’m going to star jotting them down as well. Admittedly, the previous ones were much cooler, and if I can find where I wrote them I’ll include them too. But for now, I’ll start with these two neat ones.

We were watching The Rick Mercer Report (March 15, 2008 episode) where he goes on a tour bus and interviews Anne Murray, Canada’s songbird. Not that weird since they are both Canadian and it is a Canadian show. It was a little odd that they were in Florida, but whatever. Then the following night we were watching That 70s Show on DVD. We were watching the 5th season (from 2002), and Eric talks about having to sell his records for cash. But they didn’t buy his Anne Murray record, and she is Canada’s Songbird. Woah, weird. Especially as, despite the Songbird’s popularity, she’s not exactly a common punchline!

But even weirder was that moments after the show ended, and before turning off the lights I was flipping through the brand new April 2008 issue of Radar. There’s a piece about preteen bands. One of them is called Tiny Masters of Today. Which is weird and all, but as it happens, that was the name of the band in the book that I just started today Rock Star Superstar (from 2004). So, clearly, they read the book and named themselves after that band. But how weird that I would happen upon them both in the same day??

Harbinger? Not at all. But still pretty cool.

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